My Infertility Project

I recently shared our news and a project I’ve been working on for some time.  It’s a very personal project to show, not just because of the struggles with infertility and everything that goes into it.  And I chose to share it publicly…with everyone, as a way to just show others what it’s like to go through something like this, but mostly to speak for those that DO know what it’s like yet haven’t shared their story just yet.  Infertility is not a subject that should be hushed, and I’ll not hesitate to speak about it.  It’s real, it’s extremely tough, and alot of times it doesn’t seem fruitful. WHAT IS FRUITFUL…. is sharing your story and helping others along the way.  That’s what He calls us to do.  I received so much overwhelming love, prayers, and feedback that I was blown away and still get emotional thinking about it.

As a result of several comments I received, I wanted to go into the project in a little more in detail to explain my viewpoint behind it all, what I was experiencing, and the moments of ups and downs as they go.  Consider it a behind the scenes…. tears, humor and weird moments. To see the project in its entirety, it’s up on my personal facebook page:  https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10100283155207295&id=80400746

Our story began years before we started IVF, but this is where I started documenting things…. When you first think of IVF, you think of tons of shots and medications.  That presumption is 115% accurate. Injections and meds were my life from January til recently.  Not only do you have shots and meds, but you’re on a timed schedule with each one.  You may as well forget your social events in the evening, unless you plan to bring a few syringes and haul all your medication.  So shots, shots and more shots….

Next step was surgery, to clean things up and retrieve as many eggs as you can.  This is the moment we have been prepping for, so carefully with the injections.  And of course, with surgery comes recuperating time.

This wasn’t a super strenuous surgery, but it does require some down time.  And on top of this, you’re restricted from any form of working out before and after the surgery until you’re minimum 4 weeks after embryo transfer or until you miscarry.  THIS IS A LONG TIME, so there were several hours of lying around, resting and trying to prep my body to be the best home for little ones.

Finally, you make it to transfer day; you’ve been waiting on this day for awhile.  Your body and ovaries have been pumped full of medications.  You’ve been praying over this day since the beginning.  On retrieval day, we successfully retrieved 15 eggs, 13 fertilized and looked fantastic days 1-3.  Day 3-5 the doctors let the little embryos incubate and do not open to look at them again until Day 5.  So you pray those sweet 13 make it til Day 5. If you don’t receive a call on Day 5, you go in for your procedure…..that’s not what happened for us.  We received a call about two hours before the procedure.  The embryos looked so poor they wouldn’t even give them a grade.  This was the aftermath of that phone call and the most painful moments for me and I’m sure Jason…. All this work to what seems to be nothing.  Your world rocked and your hopes shattered.

When a doctor asks you what you want to do after you’ve gotten this far, let’s say your emotions are all over the place, and there was only one thing to do….you pray.  I mean, you get a little ticked off too…I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t so mad at the situation.  HOW CAN I GO THROUGH ALL THIS AND WE CAN’T GO ANY FURTHER??  So, you pray and pray and tell them you don’t care if they’re “below poor,” but you’re doing that transfer today.  So they asked us to wait in town for a few hours and they would pick the best two out of the bunch and “Hope for the best,” (their words, not mine..not exactly what you want to hear from your specialist the day of a transfer).  So you pray some more, you wait, you cry (alot) and you send texts to loved ones asking for more prayers.

After the transfer, which doesn’t seem incredibly hopeful at the time, you do everything humanly possible to insure your treating your body like a temple, you’re keeping your feet warm (IVF tip), and eating pineapple & its core (another tip), and you rest ALOT, You’re hopefully growing a little one in there and that’s all you can do.  And pray.  Oh, and continue taking your meds and shots.  Just because you transferred two embryos, does not mean the meds stop there…

And more shots…. Vinson Images-26

This may be one of my favorite photos from the project, because it accurately depicts my emotions and thoughts at this moment, while Jason just continues marching on.  If you think it’s easy to give your spouse an injection – you’re wrong, if you think it’s easy to let your spouse give you an injection – you’re really wrong.  If Jason were to mess up and hit a vein, I would get annoyed and have to be re-stuck with a needle one or two more times. And then Jason would get annoyed with me, because he’s literally doing the best he can and hitting a vein just happens sometimes.  Sometimes you bleed or injecting in a sore spot and there really isn’t anything either of us can do about it.  It doesn’t make for the best intimate moments with your spouse. Ha.  SO, this is my face after an argument about who’s doing the injection right.  He’s patiently trying to stick me and I’m sarcastically waiting.  Humorous now…..kinda.

Then you wait…and wait.  You want to take 1,000 pregnancy tests but there isn’t a point.  Over the years I’ve had false positive tests and false negative tests, so I decided no pregnancy tests were going to be taken, except for the ones the doctor performs.  This was difficult, waiting and trusting…but we did it.  Next, you test with the doctor and your numbers kinda suck…. and you’re back on that emotional roller coaster that you had hoped to have gotten off and never gotten back in line again.  But you do.

And you wait some more…. then, you start to feel a pain here or a sensation there and you think, “Oh maybe this is a viable pregnancy?”  And it hits you, like a 145 lb Great Dane running full force at you and knocking the wind out of you (trust me, I’ve been there) ….you get your first spout of morning sickness.  Little did I know that “morning sickness” has nothing to do with the morning, it was a pure all day sickness.  During this entire time, I’m still working of course.  Because I mean you’re paying for IVF, and working is a requirement just to get by.  When I had morning sickness in the past, I’d be cozied up in the comfort of my home, but that’s not the case this time.  My first morning sickness spout we had just finished up a wedding in Maine. The wedding was beautiful, the couple was beyond amazing and the following day, while we’re waiting in the airport, all the morning sickness for the entire day hits.  Flight delays happen, sleeping on the floor occurs, and more sickness…everywhere.   One of the last places I want to experience all day sickness is in a public place, let alone an airport where nothing seems to help.  But you deal, because THIS IS A GOOD SIGN!

You semi hope the sickness stops, but you also pray it doesn’t because morning sickness is a fantastic sign of high levels of hormones for a healthy pregnancy.  So I prayed for that morning sickness, no matter how miserable it made me…I wanted it.  And God provided.

Finally, you’re to a “safe” point in the pregnancy and you’re so excited but don’t want to tell anyone.  You ask your parents and a few, close friends to keep quiet and continue to pray.  You see, we’ve been here before and I wasn’t interested in announcing yet ANOTHER pregnancy and weeks later telling everyone that we lost the little one.  It’s heartbreaking and it’s such an awkward conversation to have to explain to people.  And then you get the “ahhs” of pity, that completely mean well, but deep down it ticks you off because you weren’t able to do the one thing you are made to do, keep that baby alive.   So this time, I chose to just kept quiet, but secretly we rejoiced (cautiously).

I wish I could confidently say this will be an incredible pregnancy and we will finally get to hold our healthy, breathing little one in November.  I’m praying every day that we get this opportunity….but we don’t know right now.  We optimistically wait for the next doctor appointment and continue to wait one more day for our sweet little one to arrive.  Vinson Images-49

Our story and my project doesn’t stop here…it will continue.  For now, I look back and am thankful for the journey, thankful for the sarcastic remarks to each other, the arguments, the pain, the tears and the spurts of joy.  And we wait to see what comes next!

Feel free to read past blog posts and catch up on our entire journey this year.  

 

What glow…

“Um, excuse me dear ‘pregnancy glow’ are you just a figment of people’s imagination or do you only visit certain people?  Because I think you’ve skipped over me this time.”  Instead, I’m super exhausted and looking pretty raggedy; however, no complaints here, because God is giving us one of the greatest gifts ever.  Life.

Baby V is the size of a Clementine orange!  Crazy to think that’s what I have inside of me right now.  We’ve been reading on what’s happening with them at the moment, currently little ones figure out how to swallow, which develops their gut. To know how intricately we’re all made, it blows my mind what God has created.  It truly is a miracle.

Other aspects of the pregnancy, I’ve been feeling meh, but I think that comes with the territory.  Sleepless nights, headaches, and exhaustion are the biggest symptoms at the moment, along with a side of all day sickness that comes and goes.  It’s like a ninja, you don’t see it coming and you never know when it’s going to strike, then quickly sneaks away again.  I joke, but it’s really weird feeling.  I’ve had pregnancy symptoms in the past, but this time it’s different.  It again, just solidifies how intricately we are all made.

We continue to pray that Baby Vinson is doing good, kicking butt in there and growing strong.  We haven’t had any other appointments and will not be back for a couple more weeks.  Which is a little bitter sweet to me.  We are approaching on our longest lasting pregnancy yet, but in the back of my mind there is that lingering thought of what’s going to happen, when will things go awry?  Obviously, we hope not, but we can’t spend every waking minute worrying about what’s to come.  I have constantly reminded to put my trust in God, believe in His plan, and go along His path.  I keep saying, You’ve got this, when in reality, He’s got this (THANKFULLY!)  And for this I’m so incredibly thankful.  WHAT could possibly be better than knowing that God has this all in his hands.

I think back to moments of struggle of my faith, my relationship with husband and friends, and it all boils down to me not trusting God’s way.  With support from others and seeking out strength in the Lord, I’ve really been able to find some peace in those past moments and the downs that we don’t foresee just yet.  So, who cares about the “glow,” what matters is letting go of the anxiety, fear, and worrying about the unknown and relying on what Jesus has in mind for us. So I’ll just be over here not glowing… 🙂 but patiently waiting in peace.

Thankful & in need of strength..

Thankful for all the incredible people in our lives that are saying prayers for our levels to increase!  And they did!  Again, praise the Lord!  Our levels increased to 2,362, which is a healthy increase that I will not complain about!

I cannot complain about anything else either.  Every step on this journey, I’m going to be thankful.  Currently, the hubs is sick, like sick sick (sicker than the normal man cold), and hasn’t been able to help much around the house when I’m exhausted.  In addition, he’s leaving for India tomorrow and then on the 16th, we meet in Maine for a wedding.  Therefore, the stress level is a bit higher than I’d like and the house isn’t as germ-free as I would prefer and we aren’t at our healthiest, but we’ve got to be thankful.  This morning I got down on my knees and thanked God that Jason was going through this sickness…I didn’t know WHY he was going through this sickness, but it is for a reason and maybe to get it out of his system before he travels to a foreign country..I’m not even going to pretend to know why he is, but it’s for a reason, so we should be thankful for it.  Thankful for this sickness and for the stress that tends to come with it.

Although, we’re thankful, we’re also a wee bit nervous.  Because our next Dr. appointment is next Friday.  On the 10th, we get our 6 week ultrasound done and this is exciting but oh, so nerve wracking.  Ultrasounds – I’ve had plenty of those bad boys.  They can be really exciting, especially when you finally hear that heartbeat and the Dr. says, “Everything looks good.”  Except, we’ve never experienced this.  It’s always been silent and cold, as you see the smile slowly fall off the nurse’s face, and you have this awkward moment where you know, she knows you know it’s bad news.  You just nod and suck it up and hold strong to not cry til she leaves the room.  She scurries to grab a doctor and you receive the inevitable, the only news you didn’t want to hear that day.

There was one time,  we heard a heartbeat, well I heard a heartbeat.  I was going back to an emergency surgery and he couldn’t be with me in the room.  I heard a heartbeat, a strong one, and the nurse quickly said, that’s just your blood flowing, not a heartbeat.  Later to find out, she was just trying to comfort me because it was a heartbeat, a heartbeat inside my fallopian tube.  It was our 2nd ectopic pregnancy and that little one wasn’t a vital pregnancy and unfortunately we lost him/her. 😦  I really, really don’t want to experience this again.  I need to hear a strong heartbeat.  I want to have the doctor exclaim, “Everything looks great!”  I desire to feel that inside of me.  I need that, but maybe God may have a different plan and I know this.  Therefore, I need strength to get through this next week.  I need peace to do this ultrasound fearlessly, and without losing my mind.  Jason will be missing this ultrasound (in India), so I’ll be doing this solo.  Well, I say solo, but I know God will be by my side and I’ll also probably bring my mom with me.  I’ll just make her wait in the waiting room because if it’s bad news, I’d rather lose it by myself than with her there.  I cope better that way.  So strength.  I need you this week. In the meantime, I’ll just be thankful.

Losing Track

I’ve been quiet for a few days, just processing some things.  Processing test results, results that aren’t the best, but good enough to keep moving forward with IVF; processing my emotions, wow… this all is an emotional roller coaster; processing the anxiety and overwhelming feeling I have for upcoming changes.  Just a few things to take in, and all of it can cause you to lose track of….well, everything.

While receiving results that are basically subpar (my words, not the doctors words), I hit a wall of frustration, anxiety, fear all at one time.  Add what all this medication does to your hormones, and take those items times about 8.  So all the feelings on steroids.  Ha.  It’s not exactly controllable and sometimes not manageable.  And then add the spouse being out of town for a week and all the things he normally handles breaking.  I mean, not all the things, it was just a door handle, fence, washer, and some things with the car.

Needless to say, I was feeling a little overwhelmed.  Luckily, the good Lord knows exactly what I need when I need it.  He sent my sweet friend and neighbor over to just catch up.  I rambled on and on about everything under the sun, and I probably complained a little too much over items that are so minuscule in the big scheme of things. She listened patiently, asked questions, and she listened some more.  And then the catching up turned into something much more.  She asked to pray over me.  I really can’t even finish typing this without tears filling my eyes.  Because in the midst of chaos, stress, fear, and anxiety the one thing I haven’t done like I should have been, was praying.  Thankfully, she knew what was needed and she didn’t hesitate to pray over me.  Thank you sweet girl.

I guess that leads me to my thought for the day….whatever it is you’re worrying about, fearing, stressing over…remember to pray.  We have no control over what direction this IVF or adoption process will go, but He knows what will happen, He does have control, and He will provide.

“Do not worry about anything; instead pray about everything.”  Philippians 4:6

 

If only it was all sunshine and puppies..

If you see me out and I look a bit tired, that’s probably pretty accurate.  If my eyes are blood shot and it looks like I’m on drugs, your perception is correct.  If I am looking a little frazzled lately…well, I am.  

I mean, I met my husband for dinner before we head out of town for our next IVF appointment  bright and early at 7:30 am, and I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wowzers, I instantly classified myself as all of these things.  And then I got in the car and cried about a finger painting of a wet dog, if that explains my emotional state in the least bit. Ha.. 

The exhaustion is real…Not that it is realistic for really anyone to get 7-8 hours of sleep, but it is generally pretty difficult for me to hit 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  A couple of side effects from the meds are fatigue and insomnia.  Check and check.  On top of this, add 12 hours of driving to appointments within 4 days, sleeping in different environments, and sharing a bed with your mom and then 2 nights of sharing a bed with your nephews (big mistake)..all affect your sleep of course.  So, if I look a little tired…give me a break. 😴

If I appear to be drugged up, well maybe I am.  And yes, I am just talking about meds prescribed to me.  Give me that levothyroxine, lupron, birth control, gonal-f, mepro-something, etc.  These are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.  Of course, they are just hormones or meds to assist in making the perfect environment to cute little fertilized eggs.  Clearly, it is necessary but it will sure mess with your emotions, how your body feels and looks physically, and how you react to basic things. Like a finger painting of a wet dog may just make you cry.. I still don’t know why I cried…was the dog just so happy I couldn’t handle it?  Was the picture so beautiful that I was overwhelmed? Or was it just because I am a dog obsessor and I just needed it. Ha…we will never know.

If I appear to be a little frazzled, well if the above didn’t explain my frazzlement enough… Add your normal daily stressors to it.  You’re emotions are high, your activities are limited, you are pumping your body with hormones on a daily basis all while trying to be level headed and appear “as normal as possible.”  So I don’t have to explain why I have a short temper, why I may laugh uncontrollably in the middle of a work day to avoid busting into tears (ya, that works for me a lot…occasionally it will backfire to full blown tears, so ha you never know).

Of course, none of these are complaints, just pure explanations of why I may look the way I do.  Although I appreciate your comments like, “You look tired,” just feel free to just keep that to yourself, because trust me, I know.  I am just a little busy making sure I make it through the day with all the things circling through this drugged up, emotionally unstable head of Mine exploding all over you.

 Instead of your comment, you can feel free to say a little prayer for J’s sanity for putting up with me, show me a puppy video, & give me a high five.  Those are all incredibly helpful! 😀 

Added to edit: Of course, my husband didn’t even seem to notice my frazzled-ness.  He makes me feel beautiful, no matter how I look or act.  God definitely knew what He was doing when He brought him into my life.